At the Presidio’s ven-erable and historic Golden Gate Club, a noteworthy — albeit somewhat under-the-artistic-radar-screen — concerts series celebrates its tenth year of classical music productions. Concerts at the Presidio was launched in 2005 at this storied venue situated just off the Main Post by Bryant McOmber, regional vice president at Pacific Union Christie’s International Real Estate’s flagship Presidio office. McOmber sought to produce high quality classical music concerts and make them accessible to the public as well as to provide performance opportunities for young musicians and singers, believing that these talents are often under appreciated in today’s environment.
This artistic/community-service impulse aligned well with one of the Presidio Trust’s mission statements: to provide significant artistic and cultural amenities to San Francisco and environs. The beneficial collaboration that ensued resulted in a succession of concert pianists, chamber ensembles, classic Broadway repertoire, big band-era reviews, and operatic “reductions.” Among the most popular productions of the series have been compact versions of such operas as Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni and Die Fledermaus. Lengthy recitative parts of the operas are replaced with narration, which links the important arias and ensemble pieces. As a result, an otherwise three-and-a-half-hour opera is heard in about 100 minutes.
The last 10 years have brought 100 concerts and over 120 vocal and instrumental musicians to the Golden Gate Club. Over half of the musicians are students or alumni of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which McOmber describes as “a reliably extraordinary source of exceptional talent.” The conservatory has become an important collaborative resource for Concerts at the Presidio. In addition to SFCM-trained musicians, the concert series has hosted singers who have performed with such impressive companies as the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, English National Opera, Opera San Jose, and others.
To celebrate the group’s 10-year anniversary, a concert of operatic favorites and Broadway show tunes is planned featuring the return of Grammy Award-winning tenor Thomas Glenn (Metropolitan Opera), baritone Eugene Brancoveanu (San Francisco Opera), and lyric sopranos Jennie Litster (Opera San Jose), and Erin McOmber (Utah Ensemble Opera).
Concerts at the Presidio’s 10-Year Anniversary Gala: Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, the Presidio; Jan. 14–15, 7:30 p.m., $15, reservations at 415-447-6274.